The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has updated K-12 school distancing guidelines to reflect that they can safely reopen while maintaining 3 feet of space between students as long as there is universal mask use. However, in communities where coronavirus transmission is high, the agency recommends middle school and high school students be at least 6 feet apart “if cohorting is not possible.”
“This recommendation is because COVID-19 transmission dynamics are different in older students — that is, they are more likely to be exposed to SARS-CoV-2 and spread it than younger children,” the updated guidelines state.
The agency continues to recommend 6 feet of distance between adults in the building and between adults and students, in common areas such as lobbies and auditoriums, when masks can’t be worn such as when eating, during activities such as singing, shouting, band, sports or exercises, and in community settings outside the classroom.
The update changes previous guidance that recommended 6 feet of space between students regardless of the level of community spread, which proved to be a challenge for many districts.
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